Atkinson originally researched the period and region for her first adult novel, The Love Apple, released in 2005. Some years later, she was still caught by the stories and characters she had encountered—and found a new novel in the material.
‘It’s difficult to finish your research,’ says Atkinson. ‘It’s hard to drag yourself away from such a fascinating period. I just had more to explore and Copper Top is the result.’
Copper Top is a story about Aisling Lynch aka Copper Top, a 15-year-old Irish girl searching the goldfields for her lost brother and his friend. The book is set in a fictional place inland from Hokitika, but is based on settlements that sprang up overnight from the swarms of miners that rushed to the area in the 1860s. Along with hopeful miners came tricksters and thieves, and Copper’s experiences include hiding from bushwhackers, working in a dancehall, and dressing as a man so as to go unnoticed on the goldfields.
Historical authenticity is very important to Atkinson—a former history teacher. This is her third historical novel (the first for children). She says that the integrity of the world in historical fiction contributes to the magic that transports the reader back in time.
‘I’m a stickler for accuracy. I think we owe it to the past and the reader to get it right.’
‘Coral Atkinson is a rising talent to watch.’
Iain Sharp, Sunday Star-Times
‘I was utterly absorbed. It’s terrific.’
‘Here is an addictive story and one that deserves to be
widely read ... pulsates with energy and adventure.’
Barbara Murison, Editor, Around the Bookshops
Title: Copper Top
Author: Coral Atkinson, available for interviews (03) 329 9289, email@example.com
Release: Early November 2009
Launches: 6.00pm, Wed 21 October 2009, The Children’s Bookshop, Kilbirnie, Wellington; 2.00pm, Sat 24 October 2009, South Christchurch Library, Christchurch
NZ Book Month Events: 5.30pm–7.00pm, Tue 13 October 2009,
2.30pm, Sat 24 October 2009, South Christchurch Library, Christchurch: Atkinson will run a seminar on writing historical fiction.
For more information, visit: http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/Events/NZBookMonth/